NC officials announce first COVID-19 associated deaths

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina health officials announced two COVID-19 related deaths on Wednesday morning, the first in the state.

According to a release from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office, a person from Cabarrus County died on Tuesday from complications associated with coronavirus. The patient was in their late 70s and had multiple underlying health conditions, officials said.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The second person who died was in their 60s and from Virginia. They were traveling through North Carolina and also died from complications related to the virus.

No further information is being released about either patient, the release states.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones. This is a stark warning that for some people COVID-19 is a serious illness. All of us must do our part to stop the spread by staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing,” said Cooper.

COVID-19 timeline

  • March 3: NCDHHS announces state’s first COVID-19 case
  • March 10: Gov. Roy Cooper declares State of Emergency
  • March 11: World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic
  • March 13: President Donald Trump declares a National Emergency
  • March 14: Cooper issues Executive Order 117 closing K-12 public schools until at least March 30 and banning gatherings of more than 100 people
  • March 16: NCDHHS recommends no mass gatherings for more than 50 people
  • March 17: Cooper issues Executive Order 118 limiting operations of restaurants and bars, and broadening unemployment insurance benefits
  • March 23: Cooper issues Executive Order 120 which closes public K-12 schools through May 15 and orders businesses such as barbershops and salons to close.
  • March 25: North Carolina reports its first coronavirus-related deaths
  • March 29: Trump extends social distancing orders through the end of April
  • March 31: Cooper signs Executive Order 124 which prohibits utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during the pandemic.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 stay at home as much as possible.

On March 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated who is at high risk for severe illness. People at high risk include anyone who:

Is 65 years of age or older
Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility
Has a high-risk condition that includes:
chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
heart disease with complications
compromised immune system
severe obesity – body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease

Pregnant women should also be monitored closely as they are also at risk for severe viral illness. Despite that, data on the virus has not shown an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness in pregnant women, according to NCDHHS.

Both Cooper and individual county and town governments across the state have taken actions to protect the health of residents in the state.

Cooper has ordered all K-12 public schools in North Carolina to close through May 15, banned gatherings of more than 50 people, limited bars and restaurants to only take-out or delivery, restricted visitors to long-term care facilities, and closed movie theaters, gyms, nail salons, barbershops and other similar businesses in an effort to promote social distancing.

Mecklenburg County announced a stay-at-home order on Tuesday. The City of Durham made the same announcement Wednesday morning. Wake County officials are expected to make some sort COVID-19 response announcement on Wednesday afternoon, but officials have not specifically said what the announcement will be.

NCDHHS announced Wednesday morning that at least 504 people across the state have tested positive for COVID-19. More than 10,000 tests have been performed.

Number of COVID-19 tests completed in North Carolina

  • March 18: 1,850
  • March 19: 2,505
  • March 20: 3,233
  • March 21: 5,276
  • March 22: 6,438
  • March 23: 8,438
  • March 24: 8,502
  • March 25: 10,489
  • March 26: 12,910
  • March 27: 15,136

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